Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": LEZA, THE HIGH GOD OF THE BA-ILA


The Ba-ila are a tribe of Northern Rhodesia.

Long ago the Ba-ila did not know Leza as regards his affairs-no, all that they knew about him, was that he created us, and also his unweariedness in doing things. As at present when the rainy season is annoying and he does not fall, when then they ask of Leza different things: they say now: 'Leza annoys by not falling': then later when he falls heavily they say: 'Leza falls too much.' If there is cold they say 'Leza makes it too cold,' and if is not they say 'Leza is much too hot, let it be overclouded.' All the same, Leza as he is the Compassionate, that is to say, as he is Merciful, he does not get angry, he doesn't give up falling, he doesn't give up doing them all good- no, whether they curse, whether they mock him, whether they grumble at him, he does good at all times, that is how they trust him always. But as for seeing his affairs, no, the Ba-ila do not know, all they say is: 'Leza is the good-natured one; he is one from whom you beg different things. We Ba-ila have no more that we know.'


Edwin W.Smith and A.M.Dale, The Ila-speaking People of Northern Rhodesia, II (London, 1920) p.199

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